349

Martial Solal: NY1: Live at the Village Vanguard

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
I hadn't heard of the Algiers-born, Paris-based pianist Martial Solal, and my review copy of this disc came in a bare bones state: just a cardboard sleeve, a listing of the tunes and musicians. No cover art, no liner notes.

A blind listen told me "Modernistic," a young lion full of the creative drive and fire.

Then I read more.

Martial Solal is 74 years old, having played with Sidney Bechet and recorded with Django Reinhart and Lee Konitz, among others. He has been recording for the French Dreyfus label of late. NY1: Live at the Village Vanguard was recorded a week after 9/11, and the disc opens with the Solal-penned "NY1," the name of the New York news channel in which the pianist was immersed prior to these performances. The song is edgy, stop-start, tempo-shifting... a great lead-in to the rest of the set.

Four of the tunes on the disc are originals—odd, angular, almost Cecil Taylorish compositions, anchored by Bill Stewart's shuffling drum work and Francois Moutin's solid bass lines. But the set alternates classics with the originals, creating an effective listening balance. "What Is This Thing Called Love?" rambles for fourteen facinating minutes, Solal and company exploring every permutation of the melody, every nook and cranny. "Body and Soul" and "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" are rendered in like fashion; these extended takes— beautifully off-kilter renditions of familiar classics alternating with the pianist's edgy originals—make the package.

For a piano trio to work, all the parts have to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle: song selection and order, judicious and empathic support, the piano man out front prancing along that line between freedom and constraint—here leaning toward the freedom side. That's exactly what happens on NY1: Live at the Village Vanguard.

Visit Blue Note Records on the web.


Track Listing: NY-1; What Is This Thing Called Love; Suspect Rhythm; Body and Soul; Zig Zag; Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise; Lombardy.

Personnel: Martial Solal: piano; Bill Stewart: drums; Francois Moutin: bass.

Title: NY1: Live at the Village Vanguard | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "Luck Child" CD/LP/Track Review Luck Child
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 16, 2017
Read "Second Stream" CD/LP/Track Review Second Stream
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 26, 2017
Read "Short Notice" CD/LP/Track Review Short Notice
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 30, 2017
Read "Fun with Notes" CD/LP/Track Review Fun with Notes
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "No Mundo Dos Sons" CD/LP/Track Review No Mundo Dos Sons
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "57th & 9th" CD/LP/Track Review 57th & 9th
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: November 6, 2016

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.